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    Friday, March 15, 2013

  Largest Astronomy Lesson: Texas students broke Guinness world record

  
AUSTIN, TX, USA -- Looking up through hundreds of colored filters and spectral glasses, 526 students were instructed on the lawn of the Long Center for the Performing Arts at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin,
setting the new world record for the Largest Astronomy Lesson, during an event organized by Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and Northrop Grumman, according to the World Record Academy: www.worldrecordacademy.com/.largest astronomy lesson world record set in Austin, Texas

  Photo: A record 526 participants gather in front of the full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope for an outdoor astronomy lesson at South by Southwest. Photo: Alex Evers/Northrop Grumman (enlarge photo)

  The previous Guinness world record for the largest astronomy lesson involved 458 participants (all Mexico) at an event organised by Juarez Competitiva, at the Samalayuca Desert in Chihuahua, Mexico.

  Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the largest chemistry lesson; it involved 837 participants and was achieved by Chris George and The Royal Latin School (UK) in Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, UK.

  In the spirit of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition outreach at SXSW, NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and Northrop Grumman organized the record breaking event which was arbitrated by the Guinness World Records organization.

  In breaking this Guinness world record, instructors aimed to shine light on the importance of astronomy with the full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope as their backdrop.

  During the lesson, Frank Summers, an astrophysicist, and Dan McCallister, an education specialist, both from STScI, Baltimore, Md., demonstrated how astronomers use light and color to uncover the secrets of the cosmos.

  The world's largest astronomy lesson, prepared by STScI's Office of Public Outreach, explained how astronomers use light and color to gain information about objects nearby like the moon and asteroids to young galaxies that are billions and billions of light-years away, and the importance of observing in wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum (the full range of light waves possible).

  "Astronomy awakens the natural curiosity and awe in all of us," said Summers. "Many people think that astronomy and physics is only complicated math equations. They don't recognize how natural it is and how much they already know."

  Participants used glasses that break light up into the different colors of the rainbow, as well as colored filter glasses to see first hand how light can be broken down into its different wavelengths.

  The instructors showed how looking at a particular color can be a combination of different wavelengths of light. They also showed how different filters are used to select certain colors for specific studies of an astronomical object.

   Related world records:

   
Smallest periodic table: UK scientists sets world record (Video)

   
Longest Pi Chain: Monroe students sets world record (Video)

   Youngest person to discover a supernova: 10-Year-Old Kathryn Gray

   Longest genome ever discovered: The Paris japonica

   Most digits of pi calculated: Shigeru Kondo and Alexander Yee sets world record

  Largest periodic table of elements: Fossil Ridge students

  Longest Pi Chain: Qatar International School

    Longest model of a DNA gene: Huddersfield University


    [World Record Certificate

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